The scratched and dented hilt had once belonged to an ancient sword. It had lain at the bottom of Karaelia’s bags for so long that she’d almost forgotten that it was there. Now, as she sorted and tidied her posessions in preparation for joining Archmage Khadgar’s assault on the altered Dark Portal, she found herself pondering whether to continue to keep it, or to discard it along with the pile of items she no longer needed.
She felt reluctant to just throw it away because Kamalia had given it to her years ago, in the waning months of the campaign in Northrend, as a sort of Winter Veil gift.
Ronada found this while she was helping to clear the fortifications at the base of Icecrown Citadel, Kamalia had said, but neither she nor I can use this sort of weapon. I sense a lingering whisper of power in it, though it does not feel much like the elements. It feels more like… An’she, perhaps. Your friends, the… what do they call themselves? Sunwalkers? might be able to help you reawaken the power in this weapon and reforge an appropriate blade for it.
But Karaelia had been too shy to show the battered hilt to Aponi Brightmane or Dezco Dawnchaser, and then the Cataclysm had come. The hilt had slipped into the depths of her bags and she had become too involved in many things to think of doing anything with it.
Now, as she weighed the broken weapon in the palm of her hand, really looking at it for what felt like the first time, she observed that the design seemed vaguely elvish — though she was not quite sure whether it was more Kaldorei or Sin’dorei in style.
Karaelia left the farmhouse and rode around the bend of the Halfhill Road to the stead where Kamalia’s Sin’dorei friends lived. As she approached the gate, the copper-haired Mage, Kaelinda, looked up from the Imperial Silkworms she was tending.
“Yes?” she inquired.
Karaelia handed the Mage the ancient hilt and awkwardly explained how she’d gotten it. Kaelinda examined it with an expression of mildly detatched curiosity for a minute or two. Then one eyebrow shot upward and she summoned a book — and then another, and another, and another — from inside her house with a snap of her fingers. The pages fluttered as she flicked through them, muttering inaudibly. Finally, she looked back up at Karaelia.
“You’re a Crusader, aren’t you? You spent how long at the Argent Tournament, even though the place is horridly obsolete, and never once thought to show this to the Sunreavers?”
“I’d kind of forgotten about it,” Karaelia admitted, “and when I did think of it, I wasn’t sure they’d really be all that interested in an old broken sword. I decided that maybe I would just ask Keija to forge a new blade for it, and then Pandaria was discovered and I never got around to doing that, either…”
“My dear, if I am not mistaken, this ‘old broken sword’ is The Reason why the Sunreavers are still up there in that frigid wasteland, enduring Fordring’s absurdities, after all this time since the Lich King was slain. Whether they realize it or not, they have been searching for this very artifact in the detritus of that awful fortress, and hoping that if they didn’t find it themselves, then whomever else might find it would bring it to them — and your sister gave it to you as a Winter Veil present! Tauren!” Kaelinda shook her head.
“Go, now, to the Argent Tournament and show this to Myralion Sunblaze. I assure you that he will be very interested indeed.”
Karaelia donned her Argent Crusade livery and pressed the sigils embroidered near the hem of the tabard to activate the Hearth spell embedded in it.
Myralion Sunblaze was not in the Sunreavers’ pavillion. “He’s down the hill arguing with those Silver Covenant idiots about some thing the Explorer’s League found in the ice”, Girana the Blooded replied when Karaelia inquired. “They can’t seem to get it out of the ice, and they can’t quite figure out what it is, so they’ve been arguing about it every day for years,” Girana added, rolling her eyes. “If you think you can help them solve the mystery, Light help you!”
To Karaelia’s great surprise, Magister Sunblaze did not seem to recognize the hilt.
“This came from the citadel?” he said, raising an eyebrow. “What was it doing there? This blade is certainly not of Scourge manufacture.” His tone turned curious and musing as he examined the broken weapon. “There’s no mistaking it – this hilt comes from a powerful, ancient weapon, but which one? I do not recognize these particular markings, but we haven’t hit a dead end yet.” He directed Karaelia to take it to the dragons at Wyrmrest Temple.
When Karaelia arrived at Wyrmrest Temple, she found Alexstrasza and Kalecgos sitting atop the ruined summit in their dragon forms, staring moodily out toward the southern shore, their backs turned to the defiled landscape of the Dragonblight. As she approached, they shifted into their humanoid forms, leaving room for her Argent Hippogryph to land.
“What brings you here, my child?” asked Alexstrasza.
Karaelia handed the Dragon Queen the hilt, and her eyes lit up. “Look at this, Kalec!” she said. “Karaelia may have found the remains of a prismatic blade!”
“Really?” said Kalec, seeming excited. Then he flinched, as if someone had elbowed him in the side, and his tone changed. “Are you certain you should help, er, these mortals” — his eyes shifted to the side and his eyebrows tightened into a minute glare, as if he was saying something different than what someone else wanted him to say — “with this quest?”
Karaelia looked around, wondering who or what was bothering Kalec. She saw a faint shimmer in the air beside him, and her hand went to the pommel of her sword.
“These blades…” Kalec continued, “they were made long ago when things were… different. Our enemies once turned our strongest weapons against us. What makes you think the prismatic blades will be any different?” He relaxed a little, as if the invisible person beside him had also relaxed a bit.
“Mortal champions have long used these weapons to combat evil,” Alexstrasza replied. Her eyes narrowed as she looked just to the side of Kalec. “I see no reason to keep the swords from this honorable champion.”
“There is a book that you may find helpful,” said Alexstrasza. “It was once in the posession of my consort, Korialstraz, also known as Krasus. He had lent it out to a colleague in Dalaran at the time when…” her voice trailed off and her gaze became distant. After a few seconds, she recollected herself. “I believe the book is still in Dalaran, but after recent events there–” again she narrowed her eyes in the direction of Kalec’s side “–I am not sure who might have it. The best person for you to ask would probably be Magister Hathorel. I understand that he is with Regent-Lord Theron in Pandaria at present.”
Karaelia thanked Alexstrasza and Kalec for their help and activated her Hearthstone. As the teleportation spell began to take hold, she saw Jaina Proudmoore appear at Kalec’s side. Karaelia realized that Jaina must have been sitting with the dragons and turned herself invisible as she approached.
“How can you allow this — this Horde to continue to pursue one of the prismatic blades?” Jaina accosted Kalec and Alexstrasza furiously.
But Karaelia did not hear how the dragons responded, because Wyrmrest Temple faded away and her Halfhill farmhouse materialized around her.
I bought a Battered Hilt on the AH near the beginning of Cataclysm. At the time, it was one of the most expensive AH purchases I had ever made. I put it in my bank until I got my Paladin leveled. Even after I got my Paladin leveled, which didn’t happen until mid-Mists, I didn’t do the questline right away.
I finally got around to doing the questline in February of 2015, just before I took my Paladin to Draenor. Thus, I chose to set the story of Karaelia’s experience with Quel’Delar near the end of Mists in the overall timeline. Accounting for the death of Krasus shortly before the Dragon Soul raid and the Purge of Dalaran during the Pandarian campaign necessarily required a certain amount of reworking of the story from how the actual in-game questline goes.
I wrote the first segment of the story around the same time that I did the questline. Then I dawdled over writing up the rest of it until it occurred to me that perhaps I ought to get this story written and posted before doing and writing a story about another major lore questchain.